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December 19, 2014

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Q+A: Wayne Static talks being a bad buy (in comic books), off-roading and his next album

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Wayne Static.

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Wayne Static.

As of June, Static-X is no more. But the way Wayne Static tells it, an industrial metal band by any other name would sound just as heavy.

The wild-haired frontman is touring the Southwest with the most recent Static-X lineup, followed by a very special national tour and work on a new album in 2014.

I caught up with Static ahead of his Wednesday show at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.

You can’t use the Static-X name anymore. Is it a challenge to go on as a solo project when you’ve been tied to this band identity for so long?

Well, Static-X is just a name, but this is the same band. I went out with this same band last year as “Static-X,” but it’s a matter of my old bass player who doesn’t want to be in the band anymore but refuses to let me use the name. I paid him last year to use the name for a while, but he’s just too greedy. That’s why there’s no Static-X. But this is the same band and same kind of setlist. It’s just going to say “Wayne Static.”

You’ve had downtime recently with surgery for a hernia last year. How have you been keeping yourself occupied in the meantime?

I’ve been working around the house a lot [laughs]. I have a whole fleet of vehicles and plenty of stuff to work on. I’m really hoping to get a new record deal this year and put something out next year. We’ll be on tour in December, but we’re also touring nationally next year.

I’m at the point in my career where I can go out and tour whenever I want. I don’t have to just be supporting a new record. I can just go out when I feel like having a good time.

On the last album [“Pighammer”], you told the story of this twisted surgeon character. Are you going for a concept like that again on the next one?

That kind of just happens on its own naturally. I’m not at the point where I’m writing a lot of lyrics just now, but usually what I do is write down phrases, ideas that sound cool, and once I get into the process of putting a record together, it just takes shape and goes where it wants to go. Right now, I’m more at the stage of coming up with solid riffs and beats.

Would you say that there’s anything influencing the sound you’re looking for?

Not really. As far as writing music, I’m not really influenced by outside bands like I used to be. I have my own sight and do what I do — it just comes to me. In the old days, I’d listen to a Ministry song and want to do a take on [that sound], but now I just kind of do what I do, and something sparks in my head and I run with it.

You were in this metal-influenced “Eternal Descent” comic and the cell phone game recently. What kind of involvement do you have in those?

They said “Hey, you wanna do this?” and showed me some sketches [laughs]. Everything’s been really cool. I just kind of approve things, and, if I don’t like it, I tell them I want to change it. Static-X did a comic in the past, so I had the opportunity to do this before. My look lends itself to that. I kind of look like a comic book character anyway, so why not go with it?

Do you have any interest in comic books and gaming?

People have always come to me, but I don’t play games and have never really been into comics. It’s just people approaching me, and, if I think it’s a cool project, I’m like “Hell, yeah, let’s do it!”

Is it fun to see yourself written as a villain?

It’s cool. I’m a nice guy in real life, so being a villain is kind of weird. But if they want to write me like that, hey, that’s cool.

So, you mentioned your “fleet” — you’re into off-road vehicles. What’s in your garage?

My main off-road vehicle started life as a ’68 Bronco, one of the little Broncos. Around 2005, me and some friends tore it down to the frame, and now it’s more of a dune buggy. That’s why we moved out to the desert in the first place, to go off-roading. I was coming out here all the time anyway, so I bought a little house [in Joshua Tree, Calif.] and build up this whole compound. Most of the time, I like to ride at night and go rock crawling.

My other off-roader is an ’88 K5 Blazer. It’s too big for the rock crawling thing; it’s more of my everyday driver. It’s street legal, but I can hit some trails. Both trucks are pretty much bulletproof.

Then there’s the 2006 Silverado Diesel, which I use as my rescue vehicle, and my wife [Tera Wray] has a Corvette and an ’08 Dodge Challenger, which is badass. She’s totally hillbilly like me. She grew up in Kentucky, I did in rural Michigan, so it’s fitting we did the whole city-life thing and ended up back out in the middle of nowhere. We don’t even get mail service out here.

Sounds like you two are having fun out there.

You know, I lived in L.A. a long time, in Chicago, and the city life just wore me out. Too noisy, too much traffic, and it’s just too crazy and expensive. You come out here, and the air is clean and crisp and the weather, well, it’s very much Las Vegas-type weather. Hot in the summertime, but it cools down.

What are you planning for 2014?

We’ve got some big plans, let me tell you. One, I’m going to try to get that new record out. The fans will appreciate that because it’s been since 2011. That’s a long time for me.

Two, we’re going to do the 15th Anniversary “Wisconsin Death Trip” tour and play the whole record front-to-back and probably six to eight songs for an encore. That’ll let us play multiple nights in bigger markets. Really badass, really fun, and the fans will get to hear a lot of their favorites that I don’t get to play in a normal setlist.

Got anything to say to your fans in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas has always been great to me. We’re opening the show with some old-school stuff and some evil disco, so come out, do some shots and have a good time.

Jorge Labrador is the news assistant for Las Vegas Magazine.

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